Six Lincoln Police Officers recognized
Christy Fruge named Officer of the Year

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[April 06, 2016]  LINCOLN - The Monday evening meeting of the Lincoln City Council began with recognition of six Lincoln Police Officers. Four officers - Sergeant Robert Sherren, Corporal Maurice Johnson, Officer Shawn Pettit, and Officer Ryan Sullivan - were recognized for their life-saving actions earlier this year. Officer Christy Fruge received the Officer of the Year award, and Detective Matthew Comstock received the Merit Award.

Life-Saving Award

On January 6th of this year, four officers responded to a 9-1-1 call stating a 32-year-old male was in distress for unknown reasons. The officers responded to the home of Matthew Fish and determined the male was having a heart attack. They administered life-saving defibrillation alternating with manual chest compressions and ultimately prevented the victim from dying while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

Before the meeting, Fish’s wife talked about what had happened that night. She had been awakened by the couple’s young child who was having a bad dream. She left her bedroom to attend to her child. When she returned, she immediately noticed that there was something very wrong with her husband. She tried to wake him and was unable to. She called 9-1-1 seeking help.

The wife said it was no exaggeration at all to say that the first officer was knocking on her door before she hung up the phone with the 9-1-1 dispatch, she said it was truly that fast. She noted that the officers immediately began assisting her husband, but they also assisted her. She said one officer was careful to stay with her and reassure her that everything possible was being done, and she couldn’t express how much she appreciated the attention that was given to her husband as well as herself.

She later learned that the officers on duty were all on nightly patrols of the city. The first officer to arrive patrols in her residential area, and was only about four blocks away when the call for help was dispatched. She said that until something like this happens, one truly cannot appreciate what the Lincoln police officers do and the value they bring to the community they serve. She said she was hopeful that everyone would hear about their heroic efforts and understand the goodness of the Lincoln Police Department.

During the award presentation, Police Chief Paul Adams recounted the incident from the officers’ perspective. The first officers on the scene were Corporal Maurice Johnson and Sergeant Robert Sherren. They assessed the situation and determined that Fish was in heart failure. Using the AED machine they carry in their squads, they applied an electric shock to the victim’s heart, then immediately followed through with CPR chest compressions. Adams explained that the AED machine provided advice on when to administer a shock. The officers followed the directives from their equipment and in their efforts administered an electric shock to the victim seven times.

With four officers on the scene, Adams said each one took turns in administering CPR chest compressions. The officers alternated electric shock and CPR, and Adams said in total they performed chest compressions on the victim for 8 minutes, in addition to the shock treatments.

Adams said the Lincoln Fire Department also arrived on the scene and provided oxygen for the victim. The Logan County Paramedics were quick to respond as well. After the paramedics had arrived, the officers continued their efforts while the paramedics worked to get the victim ready for transport to Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital for emergency treatment.

The end result was that though he suffered a few broken ribs, which is not uncommon with chest compressions, the victim did recover from his ordeal. Adams also noted that the Logan County Paramedics, as well as the emergency staff at ALMH, stated the victim would not have survived his heart attack had it not been for the quick response of the Lincoln police officers.

Matthew Fish was in the galley on Monday night and came forward to say a few words before Adams handed out the awards. He said, “I appreciate everything you guys done. If it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t be here. I wasn’t prepared to say anything, but I wanted to tell you guys I’m very grateful from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know what I would have done if you guys weren’t there, responding in the time that you did. My family is grateful; we really appreciate it.”

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Fish did have a family history of heart disease and said that his mother also had a heart attack at a young age. He said from now on he will be on daily medication, but it is well worth it to be with his family and watch his children grow up.

Adams presented each officer with a medal for their life-saving efforts. As the four stood at attention at the front of the Council Chambers, the gallery, as well as city aldermen offered a standing ovation for the men.

Christy Fruge’ named Officer of the Year

After presenting medals to the four officers, Chief Adams moved on to the next presentation. He named Christy Fruge as the 2015 Officer of the Year.

The Chief said she had stepped up, and “knocked it out of the park” with the Lincoln D.A.R.E. program. He praised her hard work in raising funds to keep the program strong and said she has brought “out of the box ideas” to build good relationships with area youth and has a great relationship with many of the children in town. He noted that she was also eager to work at other community events.

Adams concluded with a statement directly to Fruge, “The work that you do does not go unnoticed by me or the members of our community. Your enthusiasm in service to our community reflects highly upon yourself and the Lincoln Police Department and the city of Lincoln. Thank-you for continuing your excellent work.”

2015 Merit Award

Chief Adams presented the 2015 Merit Award to Matthew Comstock. Due to the nature of his work with the Police Department, Comstock requested no photos and no extensive commentary.

Adams offered commentary on the officer and closed by saying, “Your work ethic reflects highly upon yourself, the police department and the city of Lincoln. Thank-you, and continue your excellent work.”

[Nila Smith]

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